Friday, February 7, 2014

Happy Belated New Year!

I've been avoiding the blog since it's been so long since I've updated it and so much has happened.  Not one to let details go, I just couldn't see having enough time (or energy) to sit down and write it all down.  Well, I'm over it.  Let's just pretend I've been consistent in updating the blog and this is just a regular update.  :)

So, we're enjoying California and the beautiful and warm weather.  We go for a bike ride around our neighborhood every afternoon and depending on Elsie's mood, she either rides her bike with Addy or rides in the stroller with William.  Addy has been riding a big two wheeler (with training wheels) since her birthday in September and Elsie has mastered the Lil' Push bike.  They love going for bike rides and William loves the stroller.  I'm actually having to run to keep up with them most of the time.

We're pretty settled into our rental although it doesn't feel like home.  I can't commit to hanging anything on the walls since I don't know how long we'll be renting the place and it seems like a bummer to have to putty a bunch of holes in the wall if we're not going to be here very long.  On that note, the market here is pathetic.  There is next to nothing on the market and what is on the market in the areas we'd feel comfortable buying is not that great.  Hopefully as spring comes around so will more houses. 

William just turned 11 months old and he is quite a joy.  He has such a wonderful personality and is such an added blessing to our family.  I love the way the girls love him so much and take such good care of him.  He is practicing standing independently and he started crawling while we were in Colorado although he's not typically too motivated to go anywhere.  He loves standing holding on to the knees of someone who is sitting on the couch and he just bounces.  When we read stories he just stands there bouncing and doesn't really crawl around much (and he occasionally bites my knees).  He's impossible to hold while reading (although we're practicing with short stories) because he wiggles and tries to stand up to bounce.  But, once he's down on the rug he's pretty easy to keep track of.  He loves his food, music and chewing on anything (or anyone) he can get ahold of.  He's a total ham and has quite a few faces and sounds he likes to make.  He's started signing in the last month and is pretty good at 'all done' 'more' and 'milk.'  He loves to clap for himself after he signs. 
Elsie Mae is quite a character.  She's just 3 months shy of 3 years old and she's fully entered into the 'why' stage.  She asks a million questions a day but usually she doesn't stick around to hear the answer.  That girl is constant motion.  She is a little ball of muscle and is really into doing 'tricks' these days like summersaults, clicking her tongue, trying to snap her fingers and twirling in circles.  She always says "want to watch me?"  Oh boy do we have a performer!  Elsie is really enjoying doing our ABCJesusLovesMe preschool curriculum 3 times each week.  She's getting really good at quantifying things beyond just repeating numbers in sequence.  She loves the Bible verses and songs we do and the felt board Bible stories.  She's so enthusiastic about doing anything with me during her mommy time for school.  It's great!
Addy is almost 4 1/2, I can't believe it!  She's really changed since we left Salt Lake City.  She looks and acts more like a little girl now.  She can do most things by herself and loves helping me on Wednesday Workday do chores after her schoolwork.  She can clean a good portion of the bathroom, vacuum and mop the floor and clear the table after meals (and wipe it down!).  I'm serious, this is about to get good around here where I'll finally have some help!  :)  She is enjoying her Character Concepts preschool curriculum and is learning letters (how to write them and say them), she is getting a lot better and more interested in coloring and she loves reading her science books.  She is also really good at memorizing her character traits and corresponding Bible verses.  Now we're just trying to work in applying them and understanding them, not just memorizing them.  :)  Addy also asked Jesus into her heart to save her from her sins on Martin Luther King day!  She is really growing in her understanding of sin and the joy of forgiveness because of Jesus dying on the cross for her sins.  It's neat to see her understanding grow.

Brad has been working quite a bit and traveling more than he expected to.  He's been selected for some projects and leadership groups and has been able to work with each of his claims associates all over Northern California.  He's enjoying his new job and he's really good at it.  He's pretty tired from all the travel but he knows it's worth it to get his team turned around.  He loves being in California and getting to wear flip flops and shorts in the winter.  He is sure he has the most beautiful territory in the country and getting to drive all over the state allows him to really experience it.

 We've taught the girls to play 'go fish' and 'hungry hippos' so we have been having fun with game nights (William watches very enthusiastically from the confines of his exersaucer!).  The kids and I go to MOPS and Bible Study Fellowship here and we are really enjoying both of those.  The BSF group here is especially great and the kids are doing really well in their classes.  I've also enjoyed reconnecting with one of my oldest friends, Audrey, who recently relocated here with her family too.  We've done several playdates and get togethers and it's been fun to have our kids play together.  I still can't believe we've been friends for 28 years!  We've spent a lot of weekends house hunting but we did get to visit some old friends of mine where I grew up and I got to show Brad and the kids my old town, schools and house.  It was a long day but it was so neat to see the whole Rucker family and all 6 kids between Jen & Janelle. 

In addition to adjusting to regular life here, we've had company a few times.  Mom & Dad were here at the beginning to help us get settled and then Bill & Judy Slease spent Christmas with us and then my cousin Shannon & Guy met up with us on their San Fran vacation.  We're gearing up for visit number 2 of my parents to celebrate all the February birthdays and William's 1st.  We've visited a few different beaches, Muir Woods, Pier 39 several times, Golden Gate Park and several neighborhood parks.  We've also visited several churches of which we particularly like one that we'll probably attend until we move again.  Likely our new house won't be in the East Bay so we'll be starting life all over again somewhere else.  Oh well, it's fun being here for now and getting to be so close to San Fran.

Here's some pictures of a bit of what we've been up to. . . Happy belated New Year!
William's 'cute' face
William bouncing with Bill

This is one of my favorite pictures of the kids so far.  Christmas Eve.